Attendant care or in-home nursing – payable for life

Attendant care or in-home nursing benefits are very important for victims and family members if you are seriously injured in an automobile accident and require care after you return home. If you are injured in an automobile accident, MCL 500.3107(1)(a) provides that you are entitled to: “Allowable expenses consisting of all reasonable charges incurred for reasonably necessary products, services and accommodations for an injured person’s care, recovery, or rehabilitation.” As with medical expenses, attendant care or in-home nursing benefits are payable for life and do not have a cap (i.e. they are unlimited in amount and duration).

If you are seriously injured in an automobile accident, your automobile insurance company pays for attendant care or in-home nursing benefits. Depending on the type of care needed for your injuries, it could be necessary that a registered nurse provides the care or a family member. The benefits covered range from complex tasks such as catheterizations, changing intravenous lines (I.V.’s), taking blood, to tasks such as personal hygiene (bathing, toiletry, dressing), meal preparation, feeding, checking in on you to make sure you are doing well or monitoring you, supervising or assisting you during in-home workout program, providing in-home physical and/or vocational therapy, administering medications and/or tests, withdrawing blood, changing bandages.  If your auto accident injury is serious enough, your doctor may order 24 hours/7 days week attendant care services, including non-waking hours if for your welfare and safety. The amount of attendant care services or in-home nursing services depends on the injury you sustained in the automobile accident and the type of care that is prescribed by your treating physician(s). For instance, if you sustained a serious traumatic brain injury, you may need 24/7 care for the rest of your life. If you sustained a mild brain injury, you may only require attendant care or in-home nursing for 3 hours per day for 6 months. The services provided must be reasonably necessary for your care, recovery and rehabilitation.

If attendant care or in-home nursing services are necessary for your care, recovery and/or rehabilitation, there are a few options as to who will be hired to perform those services. One option is to hire outside help (i.e. nurse or home health care aide) or another option is to hire a family member (i.e. your wife, husband or your child). In Manley v DAIIE, the court held that family members are entitled to “market value” for the attendant care services and that it is reasonable to look at what commercial facilities charge for like attendant care services in Michigan to determine their value. Depending on the type of care provided, this value could be from $10.00 per hour to $50.00 per hour or more.